Pachena Bay is approximately 5 kilometres (km) south of Bamfield. We will use Bamfield as the destination as it is represented on the highway signs. Just remember to watch for the Pachena Bay turnoff just before you reach Bamfield.
Travel north on Highway 1 to Duncan (84km). Continue north along Highway 1 about 5km and you will come to a junction of Highway 1 and Highway 18. You can either continue on Highway 1 towards Nanaimo and then on to Port Alberni OR , you can turn left onto Highway 18 and travel west towards Youbou.
From Port Alberni
When entering Port Alberni, take the left fork at the tourism information centre following signs “to City Centre” and “Bamfield.” This is the Port Alberni Highway. Continue following signs to Bamfield through Port Alberni. The signs will eventually lead you to Franklin River Road, which is the start of approximately 83km of gravel logging roads leading to Bamfield. Expect a 1 1/2 hour drive on regularly graded gravel roads. Watch for logging trucks and eventually, the turnoff to Pachena Bay just before the Bamfield town centre.
Youbou and Lake Cowichan
Turn left onto Highway 18 and continue until you reach Youbou (approximately 45km). From there continue on the following gravel logging roads to Bamfield: Nitinat Road to South Road (8km); left onto Flora Main for 13km; Central Main for 17km; Right onto Klanawa Main, Left at Between the Lakes and turn Left onto Bamfield Main Line and follow the signs to Bamfield. The roads are well kept and, other than the dust… the scenery is beautiful. Keep an eye out for logging trucks. Pull over onto the side of the road when you see one coming. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours.
Even though the Youbou route is shorter, you will spend more time on gravel roads.
West Coast Trail Express offers daily shuttle services to Bamfield and Pachena Bay from Victoria, with stops in between at Port Renfrew and the Juan de Fuca trail head. For information call 1.888.999.2288 (toll-free in Canada) or 250.477.8700.
M.V. Frances Barkley (website: http://www.ladyrosemarine.com)
The MV Frances Barkley provides passenger and freight service to communities along Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound. All sailings leave Port Alberni at 8 a.m., sail down Alberni Inlet to Barkley Sound to Bamfield; or the Broken Group Islands and Ucluelet returning to Port Alberni in late afternoon. The trip to Bamfield takes 4 1/2 hours, arriving at 12:30 p.m.. The boat departs again at 1:30 p.m., arriving back in Port Alberni at 5:30 p.m.. For information call, 250.723.8313 or toll free, 1.800.663.7192.